For the second straight season, Tigers star 3B Miguel Cabrera won the American League MVP award. His line of .348/.442/.636 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI is arguably better than the line he put up last year to win the Triple Crown. Cabrera received 23 of the 30 first place votes by the BBWAA.
Los Angeles Angels star OF Mike Trout received five first place votes, coming in second place. The Cabrera-Trout clash continues as many believe that Trout is still the better player even though Cabrera has the better stats. Orioles power-hitting 1B Chris Davis really came into his own this season (53 HR, 138 RBI), but finishes in third place with only one first place vote.
What makes Cabrera’s season truly incredible was the fact that he really didn’t have much of an impact on the Tigers offense during the last two months of the season due to groin, back, and hip problems. The main problem was eventually ruled a sports hernia, which Cabrera has already had successful surgery on during the off-season.
Despite the injuries, Cabrera still had statistically the best season of his career, leading the Tigers to a second straight American League Championship Series appearance.
This is the first time the American League has seen a player win back-to-back MVP awards since Frank Thomas did it with the Chicago White Sox in 1993-94. The last time a player won consecutive MVPs in either league was Albert Pujols with the Cardinals in 2008-09.
Cabrera’s impact on the Tigers has been remarkable over the last two seasons. He has been one of the best hitters in the game since his early years with the then Florida Marlins. Since 2012, Cabrera has raised his game to another level, averaging a .339 BA, 44 HR, and 138 RBI a season. If not for the lost August and September calendar months, Cabrera could have had a shot at a second straight Triple Crown award as well, which would have put him in an even more historical category.
The presence Miggy possesses in a lineup is truly second to none. The Tigers were once again near the top in offensive categories with Cabrera at the helm, and were still a threat near the end of the season with a banged up Cabrera for the stretch run. Why? Because opposing teams are afraid of what he can do no matter his health status. If he is in the lineup, he can hurt you at any time.
That’s the definition of a valuable player. Cabrera carried Detroit during parts of the 2013 campaign which eventually led to another MVP for the trophy case. That’s where the line draws between baseball’s best player and baseball’s most valuable player. Mike Trout can certainly do it all, but his Angels have been a non-factor in the AL playoff race for the last two seasons. Cabrera has posted career highs in BA (.348), OPS (1.708), HR (44), and RBI (139) over the course of the last two seasons which has led to two straight AL Central Division championships and two straight AL Championship Series appearances. He has proved to be the most valuable player in this league over the last two seasons and has two MVP awards to show for it, deservedly so.